1896: Didn’t sabey Chinook
Might be the earliest known occurrence of the perfect Pacific NW joke.
Thanks to reader Alex Code, we now have this alternate version.
Learn it & tell it everyone, it’s your duty as a Northwesterner!
It’s significant to see another pidgin word (from Chinese Pidgin English) in the headline…
DIDN’T SABEY CHINOOK
During a visit to New Westminster last week a Goldenite [from Golden, BC, in the East Kootenays] saw an old squaw about 99 in the shade, with cobwebs in her eyes, moping along Front street with a basket of clams on her heads. The Goldenite was particularly fond of clams, so he inquired what she wanted for the basketful. The old squaw replied: “SItcum dollar hyas klosh.” To this the man from the mountains exclaimed: “Great Scott! sixteen dollars and all my clothes! Not much; I’ll give you $7.50 and my coat and vest.” It is needless to say that the dusky old woman took him up, as all she had asked for the clams was four bits. — Golden Star
— from Lowery’s Claim (Nelson, BC) of June, 1906, page 7, column 3
< SItcum dollar hyas klosh > = sítkum dála hayas-ɬúsh = half a dollar is/would be very good.